Miami (AFP) – Mexico could open the final round of qualifying for the 2018 Russia World Cup at arch rival United States as a result of Friday’s draw for the six-team, round-robin schedule.
The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) conducted the draw for the “hexagonal” ahead of September’s concluding semi-final round qualifying matches.
Mexico learned it will open on the road for both matches in November to kick off the final leg of its qualifying campaign. Qualifying for “El Tri” would then resume in late March 2017 with a home match against the Group 2 winner.
The Mexicans are the lone team among the 12 semi-finalists to have clinched a spot in the last six with St. Vincent and the Grenadines the only team eliminated.
The top two from each of three semi-final groups advance to final qualifying that opens in November. From those six, the top three will advance next year to the 2018 World Cup while the fourth-place finisher plays an Asian team for the last spot in Russia.
Mexico is 4-0 and has clinched the Group 1 title with Honduras and Canada each 1-2 with a draw and El Salvador 0-2 with two drawn while Trinidad and Tobago tops Group 3 at 3-1 for 10 points with the United States second on 2-1-1 and Guatemala third at 2-2.
If the Americans can overtake Trinidad and Tobago for the top Group 3 spot — a fight that figures to come down to their September 6 meeting in Jacksonville, Florida, on the last semi-final matchday — they would play host to Mexico in early November in the CONCACAF final qualifying opener for both. The rematch in Mexico would come next June.
Mexico’s second match in final qualifying would be at the runner-up in Group 2, where Costa Rica now sets the pace at 3-1 with Panama next on 2-1-1, Jamaica third on 1-2 with one draw and Haiti fourth on 0-3 with a draw.
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